Over the years, I’ve written about the moral necessity to recognize the Armenian Genocide, in those words, without euphemisms.
I’ve maintained my position despite the prevalence of antisemitism in Armenia (read a 2005 report here) as well as a disturbing strain of it found among some Armenian Americans (see this discussion, by an Armenian). One of the common themes in antisemitic revisionist history is that Jews somehow instigated or took part in the actual genocide alongside the Turks. And it is common currency on antisemitic and anti-Zionist websites that Jews and Israel are behind the US government’s failure to recognize the genocide (see for example the slimy Stephen Walt).
Last December Marshall Moushigian, a local Armenian activist, wrote an op-ed in the Fresno Bee entitled “Israel’s role in Armenian Genocide” in which he claimed that AIPAC was responsible for the defeat of several congressional resolutions to recognize the genocide. He went as far as to say that
Israel has, for decades, colluded with Turkey in the final stage of the Armenian genocide — denial that it ever happened.
and quoted the offensive remark of an antisemitic State Department employee that
[Jews] don’t particularly want to share the genocide label with other groups.
I responded that the great majority of Jews and Jewish organizations in the US, with a few exceptions, do call for recognition of the genocide, that those who did not (the ADL in particular) were responding to multiple forms of pressure, including threats against Turkish Jews. It was also to the advantage of the State Department to blame Israel for its own cynical amorality, and they are happy to do that.
Moushigian, following Walt, also called attention to the recent cooling of relations between Israel and Turkey, and suggested that AIPAC and Jewish groups might not oppose similar resolutions in the future. For my part, I thought that the State Department might change its tune as a result of Turkey’s recent alignment with the anti-American Iranian bloc.
Well guess what? Our courageous president blew it again, and neither side is happy:
Obama issued the annual statement on Armenian Remembrance Day on Saturday, honoring the “horrific events” that took the lives of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915 — but declining to label it as “genocide” …
“The statement distorts the historical facts.” said the Turkish foreign ministry. “Therefore, we find it very problematic and deeply regret it … One-sided statements that interpret controversial historical events by a selective sense of justice prevent understanding of the truth” …
In the meantime, the chairman of the Armenian National Committee of America, Ken Hachikian, criticized Obama for a “disgraceful capitulation to Turkey’s threats” and failing to acknowledge what many historians describe as genocide.
“His complicity in Turkey’s denials, and his administration’s active opposition to congressional recognition of the Armenian Genocide represent the very opposite of the principled and honest change he promised to bring to our country’s response to this crime,” Hachikian said.
With Turkish PM Erdoğan and the terrorist IHH planning yet another Turkish flotilla to Gaza (delayed only because of upcoming elections in Turkey), I think it’s safe to say that AIPAC, ‘The Lobby’, Israel or Jews in general had absolutely nothing to do with the administration’s failure once again to recognize the genocide.
It’s also an indication of their lack of understanding of today’s geopolitical realities that the administration seems to think it is still productive to appease Turkish genocide denial. Caroline Glick wrote (April 15),
This week it was reported that NATO member Turkey is opening something akin to a Taliban diplomatic mission in Ankara. Turkey supports Hamas and Hizbullah. It has begun training the Syrian military. It supports Iran’s nuclear weapons program. It has become the Iranian regime’s economic lifeline by allowing the mullahs to use Turkish markets to bypass the UN sanctions regime.
In less than 10 years, the AKP regime has dismantled Turkey’s strategic alliance with Israel. It has inculcated the formerly tolerant if not pro- Israel Turkish public with virulent anti-Semitism. It is this systematic indoctrination to Jew-hatred that has emboldened Turkish leaders to announce publicly that they support going to war against Israel.
As a Zionist, I have consistently called for recognition of the Armenian Genocide, and did not change my position as a result of Turkey’s hostile policies toward Israel. To those Armenians like Marshall Moushigian who choose to blame the Jews, I say: find another scapegoat.
Note: The Fresno Bee link to Marshall Moushigian’s original article is not available. My link is to a local copy of it.